Elisha Wiesel’s Rosh Hashanah remembrance of his late father Eli Wiesel puts recognition of the “Jewish state of Israel” on a par with the rights of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and fails to reckon with his father’s complicity in the suffering of Palestinians. But the high holidays call on us to witness and move forward, Marc Ellis writes.
Category Archives: Middle East
Two Gaza musicians were barred from participating in the West Bank tour of the Palestinian Youth Orchestra, and the Israeli Supreme Court affirmed the ban. But a technicality in the Israeli bureaucratic apparatus meant they could participate in the West Bank anyway– and the world did not end, as the rights group Gisha, which fought for the musicians, noted.
“Most of the people who specialize in this subject agree that we’re probably going to end up in a situation where North Korea has nuclear weapons. It is a nuclear state, and we learn to co-exist with it.” –Evan Osnos of The New Yorker on Fresh Air. So why isn’t containment a policy for Iran, too?
Jewish identity is fluid. It adopted Zionism, now it must drop Zionism, Robert Cohen writes. “The longer we cling to the fiction of two-states and the belief that Zionism is not merely an ideology but a part of our faith and identity, the longer it will take to bring anything approaching peace with justice to the land.”
Invoking Yasser Arafat and his own niece Smadar Elhanan, killed by a suicide bomber, Miko Peled calls on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to release Issa Amro, who has almost singlehandedly defended an occupied Palestinian neighborhood of Hebron from Jewish colonists.
When Seth Anderson urges us to see international law and the two state solution as the basis for resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict, he ignores the fact that the law has meant nothing in the context of power politics, and that partition would create Palestinian bantustans and leave intact the discriminatory structure of the so-called Jewish state. So writes Tony Greenstein.
As a lorry earmarked for London’s weapons fair approaches, a group of people suddenly hold hands and start Palestinian Dabke dancing in the road. A police officer tries to get people to move but inadvertently finds himself in the middle of a circle of dancing activists. Lydia Noon reports from the first day of resistance to Britain’s Defence and Security Equipment International weapons fair where local activists, grassroots and faith groups protested Israel’s presence at the conference.
In the wake of an Israeli Supreme court decision limiting to some degree the state’s ability to imprison refugees indefinitely and to send them by force to a third country, Israeli leaders incite against African refugees. “Those families and their children” have taken over south Tel Aviv from real Israelis, says Interior Minister Aryeh Deri.
At a Princeton conference on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, Phil Weiss meets British philosophy fellow Brian Klug, who describes his decision to become a vegetarian 30 years ago, which he wrote about in his book Being Jewish and Doing Justice. On a subsequent visit to Jerusalem, Phil makes a similar decision, out of a sense of personal responsibility.
When white nationalist Richard Spencer said there was a lot to admire in Zionism, he held up a mirror to Jewish nationalism’s contempt for Palestinian rights. Naomi Dann of Jewish Voice for Peace was right to seize on the affinity as a reflection on Zionism, as lived. While Jane Eisner of the Forward and Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL are in denial about what their ideology has become.
Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett coined a better word for “self-hating Jew” — “auto-anti-Semite.” We come up with a checklist of 10 signs for Jews that you are showing insufficient love of the Jewish people and need to get deprogrammed, beginning with, “You don’t look at old movies and tell your partner, You know, his real name was Julius Garfinkle!”
“We have a voice that has not been widely heard in North America and other western countries. Indeed, getting the visas for people with no citizenship of any kind was not easy”–Amena El-Ashkar
Scholar David Gerald Fincham says historical Palestine is too small to be divided. It must be one sovereign state, but it must include two nations, with an open border. The model is Scotland and England, which became Britain in the 1700s. But this time, plant a million olive trees.
Israeli Military historian Yoaz Hendel suggests in his weekly column that Israelis revenge the Holocaust on Palestinians, who are the real Nazis of today
Now back in the United States, Steven Salaita writes about his experience of being forced out the American University of Beirut, “I didn’t leave AUB; I was ousted, deprived by management of a permanent job for which I had been selected. For a long time after it happened, I was shocked that Zionist pressure could succeed in the Arab World. Having suffered that pressure in the United States, I knew the danger of aggravating pro-Israel groups, many of which make a living denying the same right to others. The affair made me rethink some of my assumptions about Zionism as a settler-colonial project. I realized that Zionism informs class loyalty as strongly as it does ideological devotion.”
Even as he hesitates to blame white nationalists for Charlottesville killing, saying we don’t know the facts, Trump leaps on Barcelona killings and blames Islamists and disseminates a widely discredited myth about mass executions of Muslims in the Philippines as an effective deterrent to violence.
When Nakba of Palestinians is your muttered policy– when you realize you may have to carry out another ethnic cleansing, as the Israeli right believes– it’s silly to moan about Nazis somewhere else. After all, you’re holding a very similar policy, and they’re likely to be your only allies. Yossi Gurvitz explains Netanyahu’s silence about Charlottesville.
Israeli-American Ronit Dinson makes the decision to leave Tel Aviv and return to the U.S., “Am I coward for saying “khalas” (Arabic for “enough”), I want out of here? Or, are there just too many avenues that have dead-ended here in Israel? I want the same thing that all Israeli Jews, Arabs, and asylum seekers want, to live in peace with my family and for my future children to have equal opportunities. I don’t see this happening here in Israel unless the apartheid structure finally ends and all people have equal rights, regardless of their nationality, race, or religion.”
Yossi Gurvitz wrote that when American Jews seek to influence Israel as Jews they are reinforcing the illiberal ethnocratic nature of the state. Jonathan Ofir disagrees and says it is possible to engage with Israel as both Jewish and a liberal.
A play in Washington based on the testimonies of Israeli soldiers in the peace group Breaking the Silence demonstrates that the occupation is now a permanent feature of Israeli society. Israel now claims not to be an occupier; and world governments often support it, because there is a Palestine Exception to international law. But a peaceful resolution will not occur till Israel dismantles this oppressive regime, argues Zeina Azzam.
Many have appraised Israel’s 1967 occupation as ‘Apartheid’. But it goes beyond 1967, and beyond Apartheid, to genocidal actions over 7 decades of the state’s existence. The actions are so egregious that many can hardly fathom them, and so they recoil to an apologetics that amounts to: “Don’t exaggerate.”
Last night heavily armed Israeli forces raided the home of Palestinian activist Badee Dwaik and attacked him, because Dwaik was planning to go to nonviolent protests today in the villages of Khurssa and Dura outside Hebron. Where is the U.S. outrage against the treatment of nonviolent Palestinian activists by our closest ally?
On the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’av, a former Israeli combat officer says that world Jewry united behind Israel during the Gaza war of 2014: “We saw the beauty in each other, we understood: we are a family.” But that war was a massacre of Palestinian civilians, including 500 children. Religious nationalism is a dangerous belief system.
Marc Ellis writes, “Tisha B’Av is upon us, a fast day for Jews, commemorating the destruction of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem. With the accumulation of events of destruction in Jewish history, though, Tisha B’Av has become a time to mourn subsequent calamities that befell the Jewish people. Through most of our history, mourning occurred in a context where most Jews lived on the margins of power or suffered under it. Today Jewish mourning takes place within the context of Jewish empowerment. Like mourning, Jewish empowerment is complex and entangled. Still, one things is abundantly clear: Jewish power, enabled by our mourning on Tisha B’Av, is oppressing the Palestinian people.”
American educator Solomon Schecter accepted Zionism as a bulwark against Jewish assimilation in the west. The twin menaces were acceptance of Jews and hostility toward them. Zionism still serves this purpose. The Israeli State ensures that its Jewish citizens are “safely hated.”